The former View co-host, who gave birth to her daughter Liberty in September 2020, told People that she lived with debilitating anxiety after Liberty’s birth — a pain she compared to the 2018 death of her father Senator John McCain. “It’s the second hardest thing I’ve ever done, other than my dad [Sen. John McCain] dying,” she said.
McCain said that at times, she was afraid to take her daughter outside, fearing she might be kidnapped. “I wanted [my husband] Ben to hire armed guards outside our house,” she told the outlet, adding that her behavior was “really paranoid, like barely showering and functioning.” McCain said her anxiety was so severe that last Halloween, the notion of taking Liberty outside left her in tears. “I was just having a really hard time doing something as simple as leaving the house with a baby in a stroller.”
“It’s hard to explain because [motherhood] is incredible, but it’s scary,” said McCain. “And I found it overwhelming at the same time.”
McCain realized that something was truly wrong during a visit to her daughter’s pediatrician. After completing a basic postpartum questionnaire, McCain said the physician “pulled me aside and was like, ‘You need to talk to someone.'”
While postpartum depression is a widely-discussed problem, it’s not the only postpartum mood disorder. According to The International Journal of Women’s Health, it’s estimated that the incidence of anxiety disorders during the first six months of giving birth ranges from 6.1 percent to 27.9 percent. And just like postpartum depression is more than the “baby blues,” postpartum anxiety is more than just feeling concerned that your baby might be too hot in their romper.
Postpartum anxiety is characterized by racing thoughts, difficulty focusing, an inability to sleep or eat, intrusive thoughts, anger or irritability, and paranoia. The symptoms can be mild or severe and not every person with PPA experiences every symptom. The good news is that PPA is treatable. Therapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy have been shown to be effective in managing symptoms. There are also medications that are considered safe for those who breastfeed or pump, but be sure to talk to your doctor before starting treatment, either prescription, OTC, herbal, or homeopathic.
McCain said she began to feel better after starting antidepressants and resuming therapy for the first time since after the death of her father. As she told People, “Having a professional tell you you’re not crazy and be able to work through things, for me, has been amazing.”
Childbirth is nothing like in the movies, as these beautiful photos show.